License to sell: New Yorkers with pot convictions given first shot to legally sell
New York is one step closer to recreational marijuana stores opening.
Last week, the state began accepting applications for recreational marijuana dispensary licenses.
News 12 met Junior Martinez and Alfredo Angueira at a marijuana farm in Dutchess County. They are two of three co-founders of CONBUD, a new marijuana dispensary that just applied for a license to legally sell marijuana in the Hudson Valley and New York City region.
"It’s the opportunity for New York state to right a wrong and it’s the opportunity for us to create a new market and get it right," said Angueira, a resident of Westchester County.
The state is giving first dibs on conditional adult-use retail dispensary licenses to entrepreneurs with prior marijuana convictions.
"Our co-founder Cross Marte did six years in jail for drugs including marijuana," said Martinez, a Rockland County resident.
CONBUD is baking social justice and equity into their business model.
"We are going to exclusively employ formerly incarcerated individuals to give those who were detrimental to the system the biggest opportunity to grow from the system," Angueira said.
CONBUD'S application was among the first to be submitted when the portal was opened last Thursday.
Their application is listed as No. 13.
Angueira said he is happy to see New York infuse the cannabis industry with social equity measures. He was born in the Bronx and is an attorney who worked with detainees at Rikers Island, providing legal assistance on their cases.
He has seen how drug convictions can create negative cycles.
"When you take somebody out of their community, you take away their economic base," Angueira said. "You take away the dollar, you take away the ability for that nuclear family structure to thrive."
Another state requirement to obtain a license includes having business experience which all three co-founders have. They own several restaurants and businesses through the Westchester and New York City region.
They’ve also been visiting cannabis farmers throughout the state to establish relationships so if their application is approved, they have home-grown marijuana suppliers.
CONBUD hopes to open shop in late Fall or early winter with the states approval.